Mr Ernest Bennett: The number of new telephones ordered for installation between the 1st October and the 17th November was 73,500. Service has already been provided except in a comparatively small number of cases. In all these cases the installation has been produced in this country as is the case with 99.82 per cent. of Post Office supplies.
Mr Ernest Bennett: Invoices and other postal matter paid for at the halfpenny rate are only liable to be held over if posted late in the afternoon or during the evening. And if they are prepaid a penny they are treated as ordinary letters. Considerable economies and other public advantages are effected by these arrangements and as their abandonment would involve carrying such matter below cost, my right hon....
Mr Ernest Bennett: There may be such a demand, but we cannot meet it.
Mr Ernest Bennett: indicated assent.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The existing agreements between His Majesty's Government and Imperial Airways do not specifically preclude the sending of mail by other air lines, but the policy of the Government, generally speaking, is to utilise the services of Imperial Airways for the carriage of mails to Empire countries so far as is reasonable and practicable.
Mr Ernest Bennett: No decisions have yet been arrived at in this matter. As my right hon. Friend stated yesterday, the Charter of the British Broadcasting Corporation has still more than two years to run.
Mr Ernest Bennett: We do not regard it as a matter of urgency at the moment.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I will let my right hon. Friend know what the hon. Member says.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I cannot say at the moment.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid that the arrangement would involve complications, as the regulations require that the completed form should be forwarded to the taxation department of the council in whose area the applicant resides; and many persons obtaining forms at post offices in London reside outside.
Mr Ernest Bennett: My right hon Friend has agreed that discussions shall take place with representatives of the staff, and arrangements for these discussions are now being made.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer that I have given.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The amount was £2,936,519. No part of the deposits is invested, the money being largely used as working capital and consequently no interest is received.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The present practice is to provide one kiosk without guarantee in association with each rural automatic exchange. Otherwise a kiosk is not provided without guarantee in replacement of an open telephone call office in a rural area unless the estimated annual receipts will suffice to cover the full annual costs of the kiosk.
Mr Ernest Bennett: There are exceptional cases in which, I am sorry to say, we make mistakes. We over-estimated the amount that was going to be received from a kiosk in two cases, but in those cases we have faced up to the fact and borne the loss. The two villages are Christmas Pie and Send Village.
Mr Ernest Bennett: My right hon. Friend is looking into the matter and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Mr Ernest Bennett: During the year 1933, mail bags were stolen or tampered with in course of transit on 49 occasions. On 48 of these occasions the loss is believed to have occurred on the railway. The corresponding figures for the first five months of this year are 22 and 20 respectively. It is not possible to state the total loss involved, as there is no record of the value of the contents of letters carried;...
Mr Ernest Bennett: That matter is under consideration.
Mr Ernest Bennett: The figure for which the hon. Member asks is £74,850.
Mr Ernest Bennett: I am afraid I cannot answer that offhand, but I will get the information and let the hon. Member know.